From embeded spaces to mobile phones to desktops and servers, there’s not a single one of those except it’s being overtaken by the gradual but consistent revolution called Linux. Here’s why
The Breakdown of the Psychic Barrier
The situation where people simply state Linux is not for them because it’s either too difficult or unfriendly is what I like to call the psychic barrier to use. However, that barrier is being broken down gradually thanks to distros like Linux Mint and Ubuntu. I never cease getting amazed at the sheer number of Ubuntu powered laptops I keep seeing on campus, mostly owned by people who hardly even know the distinction between Linux and Windows.
There’s no gainsaying that Android has indeed come to stay. Having claimed Symbian as its first victim and set to be the most popular smartphone platform by the end of this year, there’s little doubt that Android is securing that space as the purview of Linux for a long time to come.
As I’ve stated a number of times, Africa, a massive market of about 1 billion people, is still mostly untapped and under-served. Symbian used to be the platform of choice of you wanted to use a smartphone. However, I’m increasingly seeing a gradual shift to the two platforms: iPhone and Android, especially among my contemporaries in school.
All it’ll take for Android to excel here is for a handset maker to achieve the right balance between reasonable price and the right hardware capable of running Andoid at reasonable speeds. I personally tick Samsung to achieve this feat.
Then in terms of desktops, again I was fairly surprised the first time I walked into our school’s computer lab and found out that half the computers are powered by Ubuntu 10.04. To say the popularity of Linux is soaring here in Africa is an understatement.
Again, it’s ten times easier for both an individual and a business to get access to Linux than to its alternatives. It’s this simple factor that in the long run will counter the Windows piracy in the developing world, a practice deliberatley overlooked by Redmond to help entrench its OS and maintain its dominance.
With Android already a stunning success, Google is now turning its attention to Chrome OS, the browser based, netbook centric OS. With the entire handheld market currently fixated on lightweight devices, Chrome OS need only repeat the Android formula to make that spectrum Linux owned.
There are other reasons why the status quo will never be the same, with Linux emergin ultimately as the winner. Some might not be so clear if you live in the heartland of proprietary software like the US, but as an African on the ground, I can confidently tell you that things are changing, the tables turning in favor of Linux in particular and open source in general, albeit at an agonizingly slow pace.